Losing weight isn't about eating less, it's about eating more-more nutrition-dense food, to crowd out the empty calories and keep you full all day. That's important, because restricting food will kill your metabolism. It sends a signal to your body that says, "I'm starving here!" And your body responds by slowing your metabolic rate in order to hold onto existing energy stores. What's worse, if the food shortage (meaning, your crash diet) continues, you'll begin burning muscle tissue, which just gives your enemy, visceral fat, a greater advantage. Your metabolism drops even more, and fat goes on to claim even more territory. Here are some no-brainer ways to motivate your metabolism to burn more fat.
1. GO TO BED EARLIER A study in Finland looked at sets of identical twins and discovered that of each set of siblings, the twin who slept less and was under more stress had more visceral fat.
2. EAT MORE PROTEIN Your body needs protein to maintain lean muscle. In a 2006 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, "The Underappreciated Role of Muscle in Health and Disease," researchers argue that the present recommended daily allowance of protein, 0.36 grams per pound of body weight, was established using obsolete data and is woefully inadequate for an individual doing resistance training. Researchers now recommend that women get an amount between 0.54 and 1 gram per pound of body weight. (If you want to lose weight, use your goal body weight as your guide.) Add a serving, like 3 ounces of lean meat, 2 tablespoons of nuts, or 8 ounces of low-fat yogurt, to every meal and snack. Plus, research shows protein can up postmeal calorie burn by as much as 35 percent.
3. GO ORGANIC WHEN YOU CAN Canadian researchers report that dieters with the most organochlorines (pollutants from pesticides, which are stored in fat cells) experience a greater than normal dip in metabolism as they lose weight, perhaps because the toxins interfere with the energy-burning process. In other words, pesticides make it harder to lose pounds. Other research hints that pesticides can trigger weight gain. Of course, it's not always easy to find-or easy to afford-a whole bunch of organic produce. So you need to know when organic counts, and when it's not that important. Organic onions, avocado, grapefruit? Not necessary. But choose organic when buying celery, peaches, strawberries, apples, blueberries, nectarines, sweet bell peppers, spinach, kale / collard greens, cherries, potatoes, and imported grapes; they tend to have the highest levels of pesticides.
4. GET UP, STAND UP Whether you sit or stand at work may play as big a role in your health and your waistline as your fitness routine. Missouri University researchers discovered that inactivity (4 hours or more) causes a near shutdown of an enzyme that controls fat and cholesterol metabolism, so you store more fat, rather than using it for energy, all day long. To keep this enzyme active and increase your fat burning, break up long periods of downtime by standing up--for example, while talking on the phone.
5. DRINK COLD WATER German researchers found that drinking 6 cups of cold water a day (that's 48 ounces) can raise resting metabolism by about 50 calories daily--enough to shed 5 pounds in a year. The increase may come from the work it takes to heat the water to body temperature. Though the extra calories you burn drinking a single glass doesn't amount to much, making it a habit can add up to pounds lost with essentially zero additional effort.
Tell us: What successful food choices have you made today??
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